Lois Lucille (Martin) Zerkle

Lois Lucille

FORT ATKINSON, WI – Lois Lucille (Martin) Zerkle, 94, of Whitewater, WI, transitioned from this life on January 17, 2021.

The youngest of five children born to Archie and Elsie (Roeder) Martin in Elkader, Iowa, Lois excelled in school, graduating from Elkader High School in 1944. She belonged to National Honor Society and enjoyed basketball, choir and playing saxophone in the band – earning State Division One ratings as a soloist. She attended Elkader Junior College before joining Evanston Hospital’s Nurse Training Program as a Cadet Nurse.

Her training was delayed by tuberculosis. During her three year quarantine she worked in the sanatorium clinic and studied at the University of Iowa. She became a Registered Nurse in 1951 earning a degree from Northwestern.

Lois was married to Robert H. Zerkle for 56 years until Bob’s passing in 2013. Their son, Gregory and his wife, Cynthia Marty, are professional actors living in Los Angeles.

Her nursing career included Psychiatric Head Nurse in Evanston, IL, Head Nurse of Obstetrics at Fort Atkinson (WI) Memorial Hospital, Clinic Nurse for Dr. George Nemec and Dr. George Gay, Cambridge, WI and Nursing Supervisor at the Bethesda Lutheran Home, Watertown, WI. Her career was ended by a drunk driver in 1991. Not expected to survive, she recovered well enough to visit the Holy Land with a tour led by her “second son,” Pastor Eric Bakken.

She belonged to the Wisconsin and National Nurse’s Association, American Association of University Women, The Lois Club and, for 50 years, East Koshkonong Lutheran Church – Steadfast Circle, Bible Study Leader, choir member and several terms on Council.

She loved crafts, knitting, sewing, quilting, ceramics, rug braiding, crocheting, reading and travel. There were many family vacations that included visits to 48 states, Canada, Mexico and 5 World’s Fairs. An avid bowler, she participated in state and regional tournaments and was active in 4-H, Cub Scouts and community theatre.

Lois enjoyed following her son’s career, traveling with Bob to New York City to see his Broadway debut in Into The Woods, Miami for the opening of the Les Misérables National Tour and many other cities across the country.

Known for her light heart, easy laugh and sharp sense of humor, she delighted in puns, puzzles and word games. Her indomitable spirit was strong to the end. She will be missed by all whose lives she touched as a nurse, mother, sister, aunt and friend.

In addition to Bob, she was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Russell, Donald and Virgil Martin and sister, Elaine (Roy) Syverson.

Survived by her son, Greg; nephews Russell Martin of Norfolk, Virginia; Roger Martin of Gloucester, Virginia; nieces Linda (Merle) Miller of Tiffin, Iowa; Vickie (Kurt) Freeman of Marion, Iowa; and cousins Pat Best of Chicago, IL and Erma Joleen Friederich and Clifford Allan Friederich of Marion, Iowa.

The family expresses deep gratitude to her friend and angel, Barb Heitzler, and staff at Fairhaven Senior Services and Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital for their love and care.

Private burial at Lakeview Cemetery, Fort Atkinson. Celebration of Life TBA.

Memorials accepted by The Lois Zerkle Memorial Fund c/o Badger Bank, 220 Grant Street, Fort Atkinson Wi, 53523 to benefit Fairhaven Senior Services, East Koshkonong Lutheran Church and Visiting Angels.

Dunlap Memorial Home in Fort Atkinson is assisting the family.